Young Scientists Study Propulsion Systems for Launch Vehicles at a New SUSU Laboratory

Propulsion systems for a big-scale space project are being created at South Ural State University (SUSU) jointly with enterprises from the Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk regions. The tasks arising during the fulfilment of this project are being solved by the staff members of a recently opened laboratory – a subdivision of the Aerospace Engineering Research and Education Centre. All the laboratory employees are young scientists and engineers.

The youth laboratory has been created at South Ural State University within the frameworks of the Science and Universities national project. At this laboratory the researchers are studying the physical-and-chemical and gas-dynamic processes and the strain-stress state of propulsion systems with central body for reusable launch vehicles.

"In the Year of Science and Technology, announced by the President, 120 youth laboratories will open in Russia. The research studies carried out there will allow the government to fulfil new strategic initiatives more effectively. By 2024, the government is planning to organize the work of at least 900 youth laboratories fitted with state-of-the-art equipment. For the creation and support of these laboratories 1.8 billion roubles will be allocated annually from 2021 till 2023," informed Vice-Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Chernyshenko.

The SUSU Laboratory for Research of the Physical and Chemical Properties of and Gas Dynamics of Propulsion Systems for Reusable Launch Vehicles is headed by a young scientist, Candidate of Sciences (Engineering) Iurii Kapeliushin. Research fellows and engineering and technical staff are currently being recruited, and the average age of the laboratory employees will be around 35 years.

"This laboratory has been created within the frameworks of a technological project under the program of activities of the Ural Interregional Research and Education Centre for Advanced Industrial Technologies and Materials aimed at research, development and creation of demonstrators of a propulsion system with a central body, an artificial intelligence control system of a rocket and space complex with a fully reusable single-stage launch vehicle and a universal space platform," reported Iurii Kapeliushin.

In 2021, 90 million roubles have been allocated for the laboratory development and will be used for solving the following tasks:

- numerical multiphysics modelling of the interaction of cryogenic propellant components in liquid and gaseous state with multilayered composite (non-metallic and metallic) elements of the structure of the propulsion system of the reusable launch vehicle in order to solve adjoint problems related to the destruction of the sacrificial layer in the conditions of aerodynamic heating of the thermal-protective coating of the reusable launch vehicle, and the influence of these parameters on its aerodynamic characteristics, as well as the flight dynamics;

- studying the chemical and phase composition of materials at various stages of the working processes (using the X-ray microanalysis with JSM-6460LV electronic microscope, equipped with wave and energy-dispersive analyzers; X-ray phase analysis with RIGAKU diffractometer; and other methods of analysis);

- conducting experimental research studies of the interaction of gaseous mixtures with ions of chemical elements, which are the base of metallic and composite materials, in order to study the interfacial processes at various temperatures, to determine the nature of the surface phenomena and the occurring processes;

- determining the experimental dependences of the materials' structure on the composition and temperature of the gaseous mixture;

- studying the strain-stress state and mechanics of the destruction of multilayered composite (non-metallic, metallic, and intermetallide) frame structures of the propulsion systems with a central body at ultra-low-cycle loading.

The laboratory has been created as a structural subdivision of the Aerospace Engineering Research and Education Centre of the Academician V.P. Makeyev State Rocket Centre.

South Ural State University (SUSU) is a university of digital transformations, where innovative research is conducted in most of the priority fields of science and technology development. In accordance with the strategy of scientific and technological development of the Russian Federation, the university is focused on the development of big scientific interdisciplinary projects in the field of digital industry, materials science, and ecology. In the Year of Science and Technology, SUSU has become the winner in the in the competition under the Priority-2030 program. The university acts as a regional project office of the World-class Ural Interregional Research and Education Centre (UIREC).

Daria Tsymbaliuk, photo by: Olga Romanovskaia
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